Gun charges carry very severe penalties by themselves, and those penalties are enhanced when coupled with prior convictions, commission of felonies and possession of drugs.
General Laws c.269 s.10 is the statute that controls the illegal possession or carrying of a firearm. Section 10(a) is the part of the statute that you want to avoid. That part controls the “carrying” of a firearm without being licensed.
The statute has been recently changed to make the minimum mandatory sentence tougher. The new statute increases the minimum mandatory time from 1 year to 18 months.
If you are convicted under this section, either by trial or plea, you must serve every minute of the 18 months without any chance of parole or release until the entire 18 months is served.
In order to be convicted of this crime, the Commonwealth must prove;
- that you possessed a firearm or that you had a firearm under your control in a vehicle
- that what you possessed or had under your control in a motor vehicle met the legal definition of “firearm”
- that you knew that you possessed or had under your control in a motor vehicle a firearm
- that you possessed a firearm outside of your residence or place of business, and
- that you did not have a valid license to possess a firearm outside of your business or residence.
Accordingly, there are various defenses to this charge.
As usual with a crime of possession, I first determine whether or not law enforcement seized the thing they are calling a firearm legally. If not, I attack the search and seizure on constitutional grounds.
Next, I’ll ask:
- did you actually possess it or have it under your control?
- Is it a firearm, as defined by the law?
- Was it possessed outside of your residence or business?
- Did you actually have a permit or qualify under the limited number of exceptions to the permit requirement?
My office is very well-equipped to defend against any type of gun case with any and all of the above-referenced defenses.